It’s hot today, wiltingly warm, and so naturally we put on our presentable clothes and got on our bikes and rode down to the AuslanderbehÃ¶rde, where we needed to get our long-term visa.
We’d been warned about their coolness. Frigidity. Anything that represents unfriendliness and unhelpfulness. Our language hero Till told us a story of visiting another similar office, knocking on the door when it was time for his appointment, standing in the hall for a while waiting for them to open the door, and ultimately being dismissed for not being there on time when he opened the door again later.
Maybe the heat helped melt their reserve. More likely, Till was gracious and charming. We spent about an hour and half shuffling various pieces of paper in a classically depressing formica-tiled office, surrounded by appointmentless people who never budged from the waiting room. Both of us are having work contracts sent to various other offices, and were told to come back in three months, when all the i’s should be dotted and t’s crossed. But the woman was very helpful, not at all what we had been led to expect.
So now: Three more months. Today we get on a plane for France, later to italy, and then it’s back to Berlin to finally start learning this language officially.